Achieving New Ways of Work – What it Takes

Think about a workplace where one is able to write on walls, partition a room to how you would like for it to be configured depending on the type of session you would like to have. A place where cycling into work and taking a shower afterwards isn’t taboo. Having a chef prepare every meal at the office while you make notes on the latest device is the order of the day. Sounds great, doesn’t it? Surely, this is what will foster a culture of innovation and new ways of work? Unfortunately, not, but let’s unpack that.

Trying to foster a culture where new ways of working is not as simple as creating an innovation space, or introducing new technology devices for the team to use. There are a couple of considerations and inclusions you need to think about, these include: aligning on purpose, as well as, embracing change and uncertainty.

Aligning on purpose

Understanding the organisation’s/team’s purpose allows the team to rally around getting to the desired state. Let’s face it, unless you understand the purpose of what you’re doing, how do you know that you’re actually moving the needle? Taking part in this exercise allows for there to be alignment from a team perspective as well, so that individuals have an idea of where it is that they can provide value. (Purpose is a complex topic itself; I’ll be delving into in more detail in Q3.)

Embracing change & uncertainty

Considering the era we’re currently living in, with terms like AI, AR, VR and 4IR being thrown at you, it is safe to say that we’re in an ever-changing world. One of the most common mistakes teams make is to approach new challenges with an outdated mindset. Gone are the days where certainty is the order of the day, the best way to thrive is not to wish it away but to embrace it so that you can address any challenges that await. Having a team that embraces change and ambiguity is important because will be independent. A team that needs to check-in on every decision that needs to be made is inefficient, eventually there will be a bottleneck of decisions that need to be made. Embracing a new way of work means more than just having meetings over digital channels and having innovation spaces. One needs to ensure the team is well equipped to do so. Understanding the purpose and embracing uncertainty are important in shifting the mindsets of your team, unless this is achieved, a new way of work will be an approach that lives on paper.